10-Year Video Series
Our Wimberley Parks and Recreation Director, Richard Shaver, is joined by David Baker, Executive Director for the Watershed Association, to help us celebrate Blue Hole's 10-Year Anniversary! Visit this website for more information about our 10-Year Celebration including the park's history, activities, photos, and more. There's even a place to submit your favorite memories of Blue Hole over the years!
David Baker visited the cypress-lined banks of the Medina River twenty-eight years ago and fell in love with Texas Hill Country. He vowed to make this special region his home and has lived in Wimberley, Texas at Jacob's Well Spring since 1988. David is an artist and land steward who has two children, Jacob and Jessica, who grew up swimming in the ice-cold spring water coming from deep within the earth at Jacob’s Well, the second-longest underwater cave in Texas. He built a magical sculptural home on the site of an old barn on the property and established a beautiful preserve and nature retreat to share this sacred site with the community and the people of Texas. He has become an environmental educator and advocate along with his wife, Ellen, who has an acupuncture and healing practice in Austin and manages the Retreat at Jacob’s Well with David.
David grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and began studying art and design in 1977. He won a football scholarship to the University of Missouri at Columbia and later went on to study painting and sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute.
In 1990, David acquired twenty five acres at Jacob’s Well with a dream of unifying the fragmented parcels around the Well into a single preserve. David founded the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association in the spring of 1996 to protect the quality and quantity of water in Cypress Creek and the Blanco River and now serves as the Executive Director of the nonprofit organization.
David has served as Vice President of Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, was a founding board member of the Hill Country Land Trust and Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, and served for eight years on the board of the Hill Country Alliance. David was honored by the State of Texas as the individual winner of the Texas Environmental Excellence Award in 2011.
David and Ellen have created a space at Jacob’s Well that invites people to experience the healing power of nature and art and to discover the deep desire for authentic living. To experience the Retreat at Jacob’s Well is to reflect, remember and renew our connection to ourselves, the land, the water, and our essential role to care for the earth.
Through his passion for the preservation of Wimberley’s watersheds and the bio-diversity of the Texas Hill Country, David has focused on restoring the artesian springs that feed Cypress Creek and the Blanco River watersheds and has brought together the community to permanently preserve over one hundred acres surrounding Jacob’s Well, the primary source of Cypress Creek. Much of land surrounding the spring was slated for high-density development and after years of litigation and negotiation, the land is now permanently protected.
In 2005, the WVWA purchased and began restoring 120 parcels of land around the spring and has in the last seven years removed over four acres of impervious cover around the iconic Jacob’s Well. In addition, David and WVWA worked with Hays County, conservation partners, and local elected officials to forward a successful 30 million dollar Parks and Open Space Bond initiative in 2007. Through this partnership, Jacob’s Well Spring is now owned by Hays County and the preserve, known as Jacob’s Well Natural Area, is now protected with a conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy and Save Our Springs Alliance.
The WVWA continues to work with local stakeholders and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment to establish a Watershed Protection Plan for Cypress Creek and the aquifer recharge areas that feed Jacob’s Well. The innovative plan is the first watershed protection plan in Texas to integrate a groundwater protection component along with best management practices and incentives for water quality protection.
The WVWA works locally and regionally as a catalyst to conserve land and establish policies that protect water, aquifer recharge, wildlife habitat, and establish open space and parklands for private landowners, residents, and visitors to the region. The WVWA conducts scientific studies and water quality monitoring in partnership with the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority for the Texas Clean Rivers Program. The organization also engages local partners and volunteers to provide environmental education for local youth and participates in regional water policy planning, advocacy and conservation-based initiatives. The WVWA has recently launched the Center for Sustainable Living Project to promote the art and science of sustainable living to fulfill the uplifting promise of community health and prosperity through environmental responsibility.
Our Wimberley Parks and Recreation Director, Richard Shaver, is joined by Anthony Deringer, Chair of the Wimberley Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, to help us celebrate Blue Hole's 10-Year Anniversary! Visit this website for more information about our 10-Year Celebration including the park's history, activities, photos, and more. There's even a place to submit your favorite memories of Blue Hole over the years!
Dr. Deringer is an assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State University. In college, he spent his summers riding his bicycle across the country, surfing in Mexico, and working in Yosemite National Park. Dr. Deringer has rafted, kayaked, or canoed many of the major rivers in the western United States and is still on a perpetual search for a river permit. Early in his career, he enjoyed many seasons of guiding outdoor adventures where he developed a love for nature and discovered the healing power of nature connection that drives his research today.
Dr. Deringer earned his doctoral degree in education from Washington State University. In 2015 he co-founded the Spring Lake Outdoor Education Program and has since secured several rounds of funding to ensure that the program can continue to serve local San Marcos students. Dr. Deringer partners with the city of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife to create free environmental education and camping opportunities for local middle school students and their families.
Dr. Deringer currently serves as the Chair of the Wimberley Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and is active in several national and international outdoor recreation and experiential education organizations. In his current role at Texas State University, Dr. Deringer teaches outdoor recreation classes and has the opportunity to lead week-long outdoor recreation trips with students several times a year. Dr. Deringer has published a number of papers in academic journals that examine the implications of nature connection and hopes that his work will encourage more people to value nature and protect it.
All videos in this video series were filmed and edited by Gale Wiley. https://www.youtube.com/user/galewiley